O'Neal doubly hurt

FRANK ZICARELLI

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

The status of Jermaine O'Neal for tonight's game against the visiting Denver Nuggets remains in question.

The starting centre, who was just starting to assert himself as a dominant post presence, suffered from flu-like symptoms on Monday and played only eight minutes in Toronto's 117-111 loss to the Golden State Warriors.

O'Neal initially left the game in the first quarter.

He returned briefly in the first half, only to bang knees with an opposing Warrior.

O'Neal never returned to the court, let alone appear on Toronto's bench.

Against the frontcourt-challenged Warriors, the plan was to pound the ball inside to O'Neal and Chris Bosh.

Instead, the Raptors were forced to go small by using Bosh at centre and surrounding him with shooters.

O'Neal's absence did allow Kris Humphries to see the floor and the seldom-used power forward scored 10 points in 11 minutes, mainly by being aggressive and getting to the free-throw line.

Home comfort or curse?

Two weeks ago, the Raptors were booed off the ACC floor in the final home game before their 2-4 west coast trip.

In the team's three-game homestand prior to their first stop in Oklahoma City, the Raptors went 0-3.

The team is back home for another three-game set against three quality foes.

"We need our fans back,'' guard Jose Calderon said. "We have to win at home."

On the rebound

The rebound-poor Raptors hauled down a season-high 20 offensive rebounds against the Warriors, whose rebounding presence basically is Andris Biedrins.

Bosh led the rebounding charge by collecting 14 boards, including six on the offensive end.


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